While you are caught up in your day to day, San Diego’s Parker Edison is making moves, or movies. One of SD’s hardest working emcees is currently transforming a sample-based EP into a live band-based album, performing at any number of San Diego’s most respected hip hop venues, advocating for meaningful social change, or dabbling in film. SDLoves hip hop is grateful that Parker added an interview with us to the impressive juggling act; read up on what he’s doing and how you can get involved below:
Parker Edison. Thank you for taking time to share some of your journey with SDLHH.
SDLHH: Who is Parker Edison?
Parker Edison: I’m Parker Edison. I left home like 3 months after my 18th birthday. I had an apartment but I was still young and doing dumb shii. I was writin’ raps and wanted a rap name I could tell the police if I got jammed up. Parker was the first name of a SD legend from a crew called ‘House Klan’. Thomas Edison had a bright idea so I combined the two. It makes me laugh now because 50 Cent did the same thing with a legend from his block.
SDLHH: How has hip hop changed your life?
Parker Edison: I grew up in rap. My big brother King Rhon used to gimme BDP [Boogie Down Productions] tapes. I saw my first concert in the 3rd grade (Public Enemy in DC). The first record I ever bought with my own money was De La’s ‘3ft High and Rising’. Monumental moments in my life are soundtracked by rap records. Its like growing up in the city. You don’t know anything else.
SDLHH: I want to touch on Reclaiming the Community and your work as an activist a little. Can you tell us a few things: 1. What is RTC, and how can readers get involved? 2. Who are some of the artists involved (besides yourself), and what is the significance of their involvement? And 3. What have been some of the successes you’ve seen as a result of the many efforts of RTC and its members?
Parker Edison: 1. Reclaiming the Community is a movement of neighborhood ppl, artist and businesses interested in building a healthier community in Southeast San Diego.
2. If you count the rap artist on the album/mixtape, participants of the ‘Reclaiming Our Stories’ book, activists, organizers, family members, etc it might be a pretty good number. I think part of reclaiming the community is us reconnecting with eachother. One of the coolest things i’ve seen from this project is members like Wilnisha ‘Tru7h’ Sutton branching out and pushing other causes that are important to them. Her new endeavors introduce more people to RTC and the movement keeps growing.
3. People should contact Pillars of the Community to learn how they can get involved.
SDLHH: I know that you approach hip hop with the same passion and compassion as you do the rest of life, so in what ways are you similarly working for the betterment of San Diego’s hip hop community?
Parker Edison: I want to put out artists’ records. There’s a ton of talent in the city. I’d like to help artists with digital distribution, branding, social media marketing, promotion, etc. SD’s rap scene is missing that. We don’t have access to music accountants, booking agents or business managers. I want to get more of that in the city.
SDLHH: Your work in and for the community is more than enough of a contribution, but you also contribute through your art. What’s going on with your music right now? What can listeners expect from Parker Edison the emcee?
Parker Edison: I recorded a 7 song demo called the ‘Parker Meridien EP’ (available on iTunes, Pandora, Spotify and AppleMusic). I’ve been doing live shows with a drummer and bassist. Every month this year i’ve done a performance, lecture or a podcast to get people familiar with the EP. My plan is push the demo version now, finetune the songs all year on stage, record the live versions and put the record out early next year.
SDLHH: That sounds like an amazing formula for artists to follow! Is this a formula you plan to stick to for projects moving forward?
Parker Edison: I might, but right now i’m just giving in to the whims of the art. Letting it direct itself.
SDLHH: This gives fans that sample-based music they love, and an inside look at the development and interpolation of that original music, and then a royalty free end product where the artist(s) can make money without paying for samples and can then license the music for placement elsewhere – genius! Are you thinking about getting into artist development/management? It seems like your forward-thinking approach is just what hip hop needs to continue growing.
Parker Edison: Nah. I don’t want to manage artists. I’m too selfish. I have my own art-goals I’m trying to play out. But I do want to work with as many cats as I can.
SDLHH: Is there anything else on your mind that you just have to get out?
Parker Edison: Yeah. I’m a big weirdo. A germophobe misogynist who mumbles Christopher Walken lines in the shower and writes album titles on the mirror. So if we meet somewhere and I’m awkward, be glad cause it means I’m being real with you.
SDLHH: What’s something you’d like to share with San Diego Hip Hop?
Parker Edison: I’m working on a film endeavor that I’m real excited about. It’s been in talks almost 5 yrs and we’re finally a go. It’s something I hope to see in libraries next year.
SDLHH: One emphasis of SDLHH is to see a heightened level of unity in the San Diego Hip Hop community. Can you point to some other artists who you see as comrades and who you also see as helping to progress the scene?
Parker Edison: James Robinson Jr and SmokeBreak Records released my most recent project. He’s a good dude. It’s been dope. I met him through DJE3, who’s another cat people should get to know. There’s tons of local cats people should check out: Ric Scales, Skinny Veny, Heir Wallace, Bad Habbit, Fleetwood Mac10, ATO, T-Stanz..tons of cats. My favorite underrated album right now is 3D and DJ Ethyx.
SDLHH: Finally, where should readers go to connect with you?
Parker Edison: I’m playing shows all the time. Come out and see me or look me up on smokebreak.com
Peace, Love & Hip Hop,
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